This still isn’t my post about why I don’t like Sea of Thieves. Maybe that post will never get written. Heck I’ll just summarize:
I like how gorgeous the game is.
I like the sailing model…perfect balance of ‘game’ and ‘reality’ IMO
Everything else I don’t like.
OK with that out of the way… I’m not sure why I’m so obsessed with a game I don’t like. I think mostly it is because Microsoft has been ramming it down my throat for months (probably not down your throat unless you’re an Xbox gamer who follows Xbox folks in your social medias). I was really hyped for it because I’m a good little drone, and then it sucked ass and I can’t let it go.
For that reason I still hate-follow the game. A lot of conversation has been around the nature of the community. Is it toxic? Is it great? Depends on who you are and what you like. But one argument suggesting that the community is exactly what it should be keeps coming up: the name. In response to complaints about getting thrown into the brig as soon as you spawn into a game, or having the turn-in NPCs camped by bigger crews, or other disruptive behavior, I keep seeing some variation on “The game is called Sea of Thieves, this is exactly how it should be played.”
I find this kind of interesting. If the game had been “Fantasy Sailing Adventure” would the current behavior suddenly be not-OK? Did Rare deliberately market-research a name that would pull in the griefers? I don’t THINK so. One of my frustrations with Sea of Thieves is that in all their marketing interviews Rare paints a picture of a fun adventure game where you can go anywhere and do anything and all kinds of play are supported. They’ve also talked about their strategies for combating toxic behavior (spoiler: the brig is one of those and we can see how badly it has failed).
I still hope that some day Rare offers “private servers” or a PvE-only mode. Let me fire up a session that only my friends can join. I have no interest in being the ‘prey’ for a crew of players bored and looking for something to do. Of course without the PvP there’s not much to hold a player’s interest since there is no meaningful progression and the quests are fairly repetitive. Maybe what Rare really should do is sell the engine to a developer that knows how to make an actual game. And they can call it “Sea of Faux-Pirates Who Should Not Gank” or something like that.